Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue is reminding residents of their top tips on how to stay safe this December.
The festive season is often a busy period for the fire service, with a sharp rise of incidents within the home. From fairy lights and taffled up tinsel to candles and Christmas decorations, all can become fire hazards when proper care is not taken.
National statistics show that in December, 20 people a day are either killed or injured in accidental fires at home. In December 2013, there were around 2,700 accidental fires in the home in England – more than any other month of the year. In Lincolnshire, 45% of incidents during the same period were caused by cooking appliances, with mains electrics and candles making up another 20%.
Karl Turrill, deputy community fire and safety manager at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, says: “Christmas is an exciting time for many, but with all the excitement and distractions, it’s quite easy to forget that accidents can happen. The festivities often bring more fire risks into the home including candles, tree lights and cooking. The added influence of alcohol means that it is even more important to stay alert.
“Fires start when people become distracted, so please don’t leave cooking and candles unattended. It’s a good idea to check to turn off your tree lights when you are out or have gone to bed, and make sure your smoke alarm works.”
Top tips for staying safe this Christmas
Test your smoke alarm
Make sure you and your family have working smoke alarms. Test them regularly.
Have an escape plan
Make sure that everyone in your home knows what to do in a fire – in the event of fire you should get out, stay out and call 999
Check your Christmas tree lights
A burning Christmas tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases, so check your Christmas tree lights carry the British Safety Standard marque. If in doubt replace your lights and always replace faulty bulbs. When going to bed or going out for the evening, make sure you turn off and unplug your Christmas tree lights and outdoor festive lights.
Don’t overload sockets
Make sure your electrical sockets aren’t overloaded with too many high voltage plugs – use a surge protected extension cable if necessary.
Never leave cooking unattended
The majority of fires start in the kitchen so this is a high risk area. Many of us enjoy a drink over the festive season but be sure to avoid cooking whilst under the influence of alcohol. Always turn off kitchen appliances when you have finished cooking.
Do a good deed this Christmas
Test the smoke alarms of someone you know who may need help such as an older relative or neighbour to ensure their safety as they are at greater risk from fire.
Take care with candles
They look pretty, they smell good, but remember that candles have an open flame which can be dangerous, remember:
Don’t leave candles unattended
Put candles in candle holders and place them on a heat resistant surface.
Keep them away from flammable materials like curtains, and away from pets and children.
When leaving the room, even if it’s just for a moment – make sure you put them out!